grilled eggplant with goat cheese

Inspired by lasagna, grilled eggplant, ripe tomatoes, and creamy cheese seasoned with fresh basil and balsamic vinegar is a fresh and light vegetarian main dish. For parties, this dish can be sliced into small portions, or placed on toothpicks.

Serves 6 – 8 as an appetizer

Ingredients:

Extra-virgin olive oil, 6 tablespoons
Fresh basil, 1/4 cup (1/3 oz/10 g) minced
Shallots, 1/4 cup (1 oz/30 g) minced
Balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons
Heirloom tomatoes, 10 oz (315 g), cored and chopped (about 11/2 cups/280 g)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Small, slender Italian eggplants, 4 (about 8 oz/250 g each)
Fresh goat cheese, 3/4 cup (about 3 oz/90 g) crumbled

Directions:

1. In a small bowl, combine the oil, basil, shallots, and vinegar. In another small bowl, mix the chopped tomatoes and 2 tablespoons of the oil mixture. Season the tomatoes to taste with salt and pepper.

2. Trim the rounded part off 2 opposite long sides of each eggplant. Cut the eggplants lengthwise in half and place on a small oiled baking sheet. Brush both sides with the oil mixture and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.

3. Prepare a grill for direct-heat cooking over high heat. Place the eggplant on the grill. Cover and cook until tender, about 8 minutes per side. Return the eggplant to the baking sheet. Divide the cheese among the eggplant halves. Place the baking sheet on the grill, cover, and cook until the cheese begins to soften, about 3 minutes.

4. Divide the cheesy eggplants into appetizer-sized bites. Spoon the tomato mixture over each and serve right away.

Recipe from Williams-Sonoma Weeknight Gluten Free by Kristine Kidd (Weldon Owen, April 2013)

Image: Kate Sears